When it comes to travel, women reign supreme.
Not only are more women taking solo trips around the world, but more companies are taking note of female travelers by offering curated journeys just for them. And now, one founder is on a mission to ensure all women have a safe place to stay no matter where their travels take them.
“I've been on both sides of vacation rentals for many years, both booking homes and as a host,” Victoria O'Connell, the co-founder and CEO of the new accommodation website, Golightly, tells Travel + Leisure. “So when my new London flat was rented out via a major vacation rental site and burglarized by a group of men that I had personally handed the keys to, I was devastated. I felt that I would never be comfortable renting out my home again.”
But, rather than give up, O'Connell set her mind to figuring out a way to change an industry that she loves.
“Through a lot of research, I found I wasn't alone and that many women are fearful of traveling,” she says. “My ‘aha moment’ came in applying great vacation rental options with the membership model of female-focused co-working spaces and the capability of seeing how you're connected to one another.”
Here’s how Golightly works.
Users can sign up to join the website when they are invited by a friend. All members can then see how they’re connected to one another (similar to the way LinkedIn operates) and see the friends they have in common. To ensure privacy, member profiles and home listings are only visible to Golightly members when they are logged in.
This friend-to-friend model, O’Connell believes, gives users more “inherent accountability that doesn't exist on other sites.”
Those without an invitation code can still apply but will have to go through a vetting process and be contacted directly by O’Connell and if approved she'll become your referring friend thereafter.
According to O’Connell, the company also works “with a premier online fraud prevention service to verify all members are who they say they are.” She adds, “While we're a private club, our goal is to be inclusive and available for all women.”
Currently, there are more than 350 properties available for rent in cities around the world including Austin, London, Dubai, and Miami at price points ranging from $36 for a room in a private home in Brooklyn to $1,000 per night for a country estate in Ireland.
As for payment, there's a transaction fee for both guests (currently 10 percent) and hosts (currently 5 percent) as well a $100 lifetime membership fee. However, that fee is waived through the end of February 2020 so sign up now to save a few bucks. Check out Golightly’s website now, and sign up, so you can go out there and make new global female friends in no time.